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tv   President Obama Delivers Commencement Address at Rutgers University  CSPAN  May 15, 2016 12:50pm-1:36pm EDT

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it seems like most campaigns like president obama's 2008 run, they gone the way of the super pac. host: one viewer saying the washington post needs to the funds of donald trump. trumps a false claims that there is nothing to and from his tax returns, he repeats that statement thing he's going to release them. guest: the question about the trump foundation, i would recommend anyone out there to go and the writing of david the reporting of a roz halderman. they looked into the trump foundation at the washington post and other articles are easily acceptable by the internet. on the question of the tax returns, this is one of the most murky parts of the truck campaign. he said to george steffen knowledge -- stephanopoulos
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yesterday, it is none of your business about the tax returns. they find information navigate the tax code, and the audit that he keeps mentioning, there are very few details about the audit. we have seen nothing about what kind of money the federal trumpment may expect from owe. how much of the government contesting for mr. trump? the irs commissioner in saying that there is nothing that would prevent him from releasing his returns even if you are under audit. you can watch the interview at c-span.org. caller: good morning. i enjoyed this program very much.
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this gentleman that is on now, he is one of the ones that are not on either side and are telling the truth and trying to be neutral with everybody. i appreciate that. i do have a question for him. why don't they bring up hillary as much as they do trump? she has done so much to this country, her and obama that is not right. i would like to know why they don't -- the media and the papers bring up things that he has done? i don't think they are being very truthful and open with that side of the democrat. callreciate you taking my and listening to me. and you all have a very good last day. and thank you bye. guest: again i'm not a media
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critic. i understand experiences route the campaign, meeting cheap people -- meeting people on the campaign trail, wiser so much coverage with trump? my answer is a simple one. both candidates, both parties deserve a full scrutiny of their finances, politics, rise to power, people around them, and it should be very bounds. i cannot agree more. trump is just a new figure on the political scene. pressot of people in the are trying to get their hands around this new phenomenon and figure out what is causing it. and figure out who is this person? with secretary clinton, who again deserves just as much thereny as donald trump, is a sense that she has been vetted and reported on on many fronts. of course there are his new ones. and we will continue to look for those as well. caller: good morning.
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i especially appreciate the show this morning. a couple of things i would like to say. is pretty fair. i think what we are forgetting is, it was the clintons that balanced the budget. they are really trying everything they can to destroy hillary. i think that we need to realize when the budget was great is one that clinton was in there. re and bush came in the squandered all of that money aware. i'm wasting time about garbage
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like e-mails and stuff. let's grab this window while we got it. thank you very much. have a good day. you bring up the 90's and the glow that the 90 cap are many american voters because of bill clinton's presidency. because of the way that the economy soared at times during his presidency. many democrats hope secretary clinton even as her in person cap perhaps take credit or sharon that glow from the 90's. republicans recognizes. one of the interesting things i picked up my noble guest today, is that newt gingrich, the former house speaker, is part of the conversations in trump tower and in the trump circle as a possible vice presidential candidate. part of the reason for that is republicans don't want the clintons to be held to take all the credit for the 90's. the clintons are going to look back to the 90's, and bill clinton's presidency and try to revive some that nostalgia.
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the republicans are up to maybe take some of the credit for that themselves with newt gingrich. will hillary clinton be first to release a transcript of the speech as she gave to morgan stanley other financial interest? guest: well hillary clinton before it's released transcripts? will donald trump be forced to release tax returns? would love to see all of it. they should really be available to the public. these are people who are seeking the presidency. every citizen you could argue should have a right to see the documents. the candidates of course have a choice about whether to release them, they have chosen not to for the moment. i think the only thing that could really change that is political pressure. there is no legal or political reason for them to do so. no pressure from the institutional side of running for president. but politically, they may. because people may want to deceive. good morning. first i want to make a
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statement, and that i want to ask your guest how he feels about something. i first learned in the jack kennedy election. so i've been voting for a long time. where wehe first year are not going to be just offered a choice between gop establishment person and democratic establishment person. that both parties have a non-establishment person. the one is already one, and the other keeping my fingers crossed will win. trump because he is non-establishment. i think that is what this country needs. is, i have been like everybody else taking what the vice presidential nomination choice. and i had tweeted to mr. trump that i think condoleezza rice would be the perfect person for a whole bunch of reasons. what do your guess think about that?
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guest: her name has been mentioned. she is a very private person. she lives in northern california, works at stanford. she seems to appreciate her private life. i've spoken to friends of hers about the possibility. they think that she would shy away even from being vetted. she is not really political person. she wouldat -- probably be reluctant at this stage in her life. she just does not have the interest. i think it is an intriguing point because with secretary clinton prospering the democratic nominee, this could be a question about republicans and women. whether with donald trump how statement about women, and the secretary clinton on the democratic ticket, how can the gop win over the majority of orders and country? i think the establishment point you made is a powerful one.
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i think it really speaks to buy trump has connected with many voters. and a lot of times in the press we are struck at how people continue to stand by trump on the right. because then you realize that is not so much about his ideology or its admissions, it is about at the end of the day is not establish a parent he plans to not just change the system, but to stop the system. to up to you the table and change -- to up even table and change american politics. if there is any current lifting the chapo, it is that one. current lifting the trump vote, it is that one. i have spoken to people close to ryan is said that in so many words. ryan is someone who cherishes a and evenperament, temperament is all about
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civility in politics. you see ryan visibly uncomfortable anytime politics gets rough-and-tumble. i think there is a balance chump is going to have to find, because congressional leaders want to make sure they retain a majority for the house and senate, and part of that is trump, there'sth an acknowledgment on capitol hill with republican aides and leaders there that trump cannot be changed. you can only hope to guide him as he barrels forward. host: robert costa, his byline appears today above the full, looking at a potential third-party candidacy. we are looking to your reporting tomorrow. we are waiting for present obama to give the commencement speech of the graduating class of records university. when he begins, we will have that live for you on c-span.
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while we wait, a discussion of historical sites across the united states. this is from today's "washington journal." host: in his introduction to the book, your friend and colleague david mccullough says it's an incentive to get in the car and hit the road. why did you write the book? guest: i wrote the book for several reasons. politicalencourage historical literacy and to understand why those are important and why places are important, to encourage people to go out and see these places and experience history firsthand , and also to appreciate why we need to preserve these places. this is the centennial year of the national park service is, so it's a good year to see the national parks and america's political, economic, and social history and to recognize these
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places are worth preserving. host: you write the following -- "every one of these sites is important because they all illustrate that history is not inevitable. people make history through the choices and histories that defined their time. americans chose to declare independence from england, right andt novels about slavery race, invent the machine that flies, and build and use the atomic bomb." guest: we so often believe or think that history just happened and that we sometimes overlook the fact that people make decisions. history is made by people. history can be a great resource to understand our own times and our own lives. i wanted to write the books in the perspective that even though we may be familiar with a number of these places and the book, "50 great american places those quote looks at some of these people and events that shaped these places and the power of place to understand history. host: how do you define a great
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american place? guest: the great american place is a place that is essential to understanding some of the major themes in american history. i identified five themes -- freedom, war, innovation, diversity, and land. , i believe,hemes help us understand american character, american identity. those are why those places are essential and what makes them great could host. host: the land is, behind me and down a block or two, is the front lawn. guest: it's a great start to understand american history. it was a landscape that was man-mad./e. along the national mall, there are landmarks that help us understand democratic history, the capital, the white house, and all the great monuments and memorials. they tell a story of who we are
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as americans. host: the presidio's on your list of 50 great american places. why? guest: the presidio is located at the entrance of san francisco bay. when john fremont, the army officer who later became the first republican nominee for president in 1856, but tenure earlier, he0 years saw the entrance to san francisco bed and said i will call this place. kristopoli, which means the golden gate. had settled the presidio in 1776. at the same time we were declaring independence from great britain, the spanish had established a fort at the entrance of san francisco bay. today, the presidio is a national park. it was an army post for 150 years.
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at the presidio, you can learn not only about our military history but also the importance , alcatrazimmigration island, and the golden gate bridge also frames is important to mark. >> we are leaving this now to join president obama speaking live at rutgers university. president obama: thank you so much. take you, everybody. please have a seat. thank you for that introduction. let me congratulate my extraordinary and worthy fellow , dr.ary scarlet knights purnell and bill moyers. matthew, good job. [laughter] interested, we can talk after this. [applause]
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one of the perks of my job is honorary degrees. [laughter] you itave to tell impresses nobody in my house. [laughter] mali and sasha just say, ok, dr. dad, we will see later. can we have some money? [laughter] to the board of governors from chairman brown to lieutenant , mayor cahill, members of congress, rutgers administrators, faculty, staff, friends and family, thank you for the honor of joni for the two 50th -- joining you for the 250th anniversary of this remarkable institution. [applause]
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but most of all, congratulations to the class of 2016. [applause] [laughter] reasonhere for a simple -- to finally settle this question. [laughter] i'm just kidding. there's not much i'm afraid to take on in my final year of office, but i know better than to get in the middle of that debate. [laughter] the truth is i came here because you asked. [applause] it is true that a lot of schools invited me to their commencement every year, but you are the first to launch a three-year campaign. [laughter]
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e-mails, letters, tweets, youtube videos. i even got three notes from the grandmother of your student body president. [laughter] and i have to say, that really sealed the deal. that was smart because i have a grandmas. for nine, onre, off exit , at thes of build rail site of one of the original nine colonial colleges. winners of the first ever college football game. [applause] one of the newest members of the big ten. bee of what i understand to
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a grease truck for a fat sandwich. [laughter] [applause] mozzarella sticks and chicken fingers on your cheesesteaks. i'm sure michelle would approve. [laughter] but somehow you have survived such death-defying acts and you also survived the daily jockeying for buses. you aret that a few of trying to survive this afternoon after a late-night. you know who you are. [laughter]
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however you got here, you made it. you made it. today, you join a long line of scarlet knights, whose energy and intellect have left this university to heights that the founders could not have imagined. 250 years ago, when america was still just an idea, a charter from the royal government, ben franklin son, established queens college. a few years later, handful of students gathered in a converted tavern for the first class. pub,that first class at a rutgers has evolved into one of the finest research institutions in america. [applause] it is a place where you 3-d print prosthetic hands for
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windren and devise rooftop of arrays that can power entire office buildings with clean, renewable energy. every day, tens of thousands of students come here to this melting pot where ideas and cultures flow together among what might just be america's most diverse student body. [applause] here in new brunswick, you can debate philosophy with a classmate from south asia in one place and strike up a conversation on the w bus with a first-generation latino student from jersey city before sitting down for your site group project with a veteran going to the school on the post because of the g.i. bill. america converges here. and so many ways, the history of rutgers mirrors the evolution of america.
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the course by which we became bigger, stronger, richer, more dynamic, and a more inclusive nation. america's progress has never been smooth or steady. progress doesn't travel in a straight line. igs ands and zags -- it z zags with fits and starts. progress in america has been hard and contentious and sometimes bloody. it remains uneven. at times, for every two steps forward, it feels like we take one step back. for some of you, this may sound like your college career. [laughter] it sounds like mine anyway. [laughter] which makes sense because measured against the whole human
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history, america remains a very young nation. younger even in this university. bumpy.s is it always has been. but because of dreamers and innovators and strivers and activists, progress has been this nation's hallmark. i am fond of quoting dr. martin luther king jr., who said, "the ark of the whole universe is long, but it bends toward justice." it bends toward justice. i believe that. arci also believe that the our nation does not been torched justice or freedom or quality or prosperity on its own. it depends on us. make, choices we particularly at certain inflection point in history.
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particularly when big changes are happening and everything seems up for grabs. the class of 2016, your graduating at such an inflection point -- you are graduating at such and such an point. newe the start of the millennia, cap already witnessed horrific terrorist attacks and war and the great recession. you have seen economic and technological and cultural shifts that are profoundly altering how we work and how we communicate, how we live, how we form families. change is not subsiding. it is accelerating. these changes offer not only great opportunities but also great peril. fortunately, your generation has
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everything it takes to lead this country towards a brighter future. i am confident that you can make the wayt choices through fear and paralysis for cooperation and innovation and hope. [applause] partly i'm confident because on average, you are smarter and better educated than my generation. although we probably have better penmanship. and we are certainly better spellers. [laughter] we did not have spell check back in my day. you're not on the better educated, you have been more exposed to the world, more exposed to other cultures. you are more diverse, more environmentally conscious. yes, a healthy skepticism for conventional wisdom.
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you have got the tools to lead us. precisely because i so much confidence in you, i'm not going to spend the remainder of my time telling you exactly how you're going to make the world better. out -- going to figure it out. [laughter] you will look at things with fresh eyes, unencumbered by biases and blond blind spots and general inertia and crankiness of your parents and grandparents and old heads like me. i do have a couple of suggestions that you may find useful as you go out there and conquer the world. -- when you hear someone longing for the good old days, take it with a grain of salt. [laughter] [applause] take it with a grain of salt.
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nation and wereat are rightly proud of our history. we are beneficiaries of the labor and the grit and the courage of generations who came before you. i guess it's part of human nature, especially in times of change and uncertainty to want to look backwards and long for some imaginary path where everything worked and the politicsounhummed and all was wise and every child was well mannered and america did whatever it wanted around the world. guess what? it ain't so. the good old days were not all that good. yes, there have been some stretches in our history where the economy grew much faster or when government ran more smoothly. there were moments when immediately after world war ii,
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for example, or the end of the cold war, when the world bent more easily to our will. but those are sporadic. those moments, those episodes. in fact, by almost every measure, america is better and the world is better than it was 50 years ago or 30 years ago or even eight years ago. [applause] 150by the way, set aside years ago, pre-civil war. there's a whole bunch of stuff there that we could talk about. set aside life in the 1950's, when women and people of color were systematically excluded from big chunks of american life. 1983, whichuated in
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is in that long ago, i'm just saying. [laughter] ,ince i graduated, crime rates teenage pregnancy, the share of americans living in poverty, they are all down. the share of americans with college educations have gone way up. our life expectancy has as well. blacks and latinos have risen up the ranks in business and politics. [applause] more women are in the workforce. they are earning more money. although it is long past time that we pass laws that make women get paid the same for the same work. [applause] meanwhile in the eight years since most of you started high school, we are also better off. you and your fellow graduates
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are entering the job market with better prospects than any time since 2000. 20 million more americans know the financial security of health insurance. we are less dependent on foreign oil. we have doubled the production of clean energy. we have cut high school dropout rates. you have cut the deficit by two thirds. marriage equality is the law of the land. [applause] and just as america is better, the world is better than when i graduated. i graduated, the iron curtain fell. apartheid ended. there is more democracy. we virtually eliminate certain diseases like polio. we have cut extreme poverty drastically. we have cut infant mortality by an enormous amount. i say all these things not to make you complacent.
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we have got a bunch of big problems to solve. i say it to point out that change has been a constant in our history and the reason america is better is because we did not look backwards. we do not fear the future. we seized the future and made it our own. and that is exactly why it has always been young people like you who have brought about a change. it's because you don't fear the future. that leads me to my second point. the world is more interconnected than ever before and it is becoming more connected every day. thiding walls won't change ngs. [applause] look, as president, my first
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responsibility is always the security and prosperity of united states. as citizens, we all rightfully put our country first. but if the past two decades have taught us anything, it's that the biggest challenges we face cannot be solved in isolation. states start falling apart, they become breeding grounds for terrorism, ideologies of nihilism and despair that ultimately can reach our shores. when developing countries do not have functioning health systems, epidemics like zika or ebola can spread and threaten americans and awol won't stop that -- a wall won't stop that. if we want to close loopholes that allow large corporations and wealthy individuals to avoid
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paying their fair share of taxes, we have to have other countries help enforce financial losaws. the point is, to help ourselves, we have got to help others, not pull up the drawbridge and try to keep the world out. engagement does not mean deploying our military. there are times where we must take military action to protect ourselves and our allies. we are in all of and grateful for the men and women who make up the finest fighting force the world has ever known. [applause] but i worry if we think that the entire burden of our engagement with the world is up to the 1% who serve in our military. the rest of us can just sit back and do nothing.
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they can't shoulder the entire burden. engagement means using all the levers of our national power and rallying the world to take on our shared challenges. you look at something like trade, for example. global in an age of supply chains and cargo ships that crisscross oceans and online commerce that can render borders obsolete. a lot of folks have legitimate concerns with the way globalization has progressed. that is one of the changes that has been taken place -- jobs shipped overseas, trade deals that sometimes perk workers and businesses at a disadvantage. the answer is to not stop -- stop trading with other countries. in this global economy, that's impossible. withnswer is to negotiate other countries to raise their trade standards and environmental standards and to make sure they do not impose tariffs on american goods or steel american intellectual
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property. that is how we make sure that international rules are consistent with our values, including human rights. ultimately, that's how we help raise wages here in america. that is how we help our workers compete on a level playing field. building walls won't do that. [applause] economy andst our it won't enhance our security. muslimsg or disparaging , suggesting that they should be treated differently when it comes to entering this country, that is not just of the trail of our values -- a betrayal of our values -- [applause] aat's not just betrayal of who we are. it would alienate our communities at home and abroad who are most important partners in the fight against violent
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extremism. to suggest that we can build a wall along our borders and blame our challenges on immigrants, that does not just run counter to our history as the world melting pot. it contradicts the evidence that our growth and our innovation and our dynamism has always been spurred by our ability to create drivers from every corner of the globe. that is how we became america. why would we want to stop it now? [applause] can't do it. which brings me to my third point. facts, evidence, reason, logic,
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and understanding of science -- these are good things. these are qualities you want in people making policy. these are qualities you want to continue to cultivate in yourselves as citizens. [applause] that might seem obvious. [laughter] and that's why we honor bill moyers or dr. burnell. we traditionally have valued those things, but if you were listening to today's political where, you might wonder the strain of anti-intellectualism came from. [laughter] [applause]
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so class of 2016, let me be as clear as i can be. in politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue. [applause] it's not cool to not know what you're talking about. [laughter] that's not keeping it real or telling it like it is. that's not challenging political correctness. that's just not knowing what you're talking about. [laughter] and yet, we have become confused about this. look, our nation's founders -- franklin, madison, hamilton, jefferson -- they were born of the enlightenment.
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they sought to escape superstition and tribalism and know nothing this. ness. they believed and rational thought and expand mentation and the capacity of informed citizens to master our own fate. that is embedded in our constitutional desire. that spirit informs our ventures and our explorers -- the edison's and the wright brothers and the george washington carver's and the norman for lots and the steve jobs. that is what built this country. and today, in every phone in one access pockets, we have to more information than at any time in human history at a touch of a button. ironically, the flood of information has not made us more discerning of the truth. in some ways, it has made us
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more confident in our ignorance. we assume whatever is on the web must be true. we search for sites that just reinforce our own predispositions. opinions masqueraded as fact. the wildest conspiracy theories are taken for gossip. have learned during your years of college, and if not, you will learn soon, that there are a whole lot of folks who are book smart and have no common sense. that is the truth. [laughter] [applause] you will meet them if you have not already. [laughter] the fact that they have a fancy degree, you have to talk to them to see whether they know what they are talking about. qualities like kindness and
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compassion, honesty and hard work, they often matter more than technical skills and know-how. [applause] but, when our leaders express a disdain for facts, when they are not held accountable for repeating falsehoods and making experts while actual are dismissed as elitists, we have a problem. if we getresting that the we want to make sure doctors have gone to medical school. if we want to get on a plane, we want the pilots to be able to pilot the plane. our public lives, we
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suddenly think, i don't want someone who has done it before. [laughter] [applause] fact, theion of rejection of reason, that is the path to decline. in the words of carl sagan, he said we can judge our progress by the carnage of our questions and the depth of our answers, our willingness to embrace what is true rather than what feels good. the debate around climate change is a perfect example of this. i recognize it does not feel like the planet is warmer right now. [laughter] i understand. there was hail when i landed in newark. [laughter]
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but think about the climate change issue. everyday day there are officials in high office, with responsibilities, who mock the overwhelming consensus of the that humanentists activity and methane and carbon substances areer altering our climate in profound and dangerous ways. a while back, you might have seen a united states senator trotted out a snowball in the middle of winter tha improve the world was not warming. i mean, listen, climate change is not something subject to political spin. there is evidence, there are facts, we can see it happening right now. if we don't act, if we don't
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follow through on the progress made inin paris -- we paris and at home, your generation will feel the rent of catastrophe. it is up to you to insist on an informed debate. imagine if benjamin franklin had aen that senator with snowball. imagine if your fifth grade science teacher had seen that. [laughter] "d." and he is a senator. look, i'm not suggesting that analysis and hard data are ultimately more important then passion, faith, love or loyalty. i am suggesting that those highest expressions of our
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humanity can only flourish when our economy functions well and proposed budgets at up and our environment is protected. and to accomplish those things, to make a common good, we have to use our heads and agree that fax and evidence matter and hold our leaders and ourselves accountable to know what the heck they are talking about. [applause] all right. i only have two more points. i know it is getting cold and you guys have to graduate. nt 4, have faith in democracy. i know it is not always pretty. i know -- [laughter] -- i have been living it. it is how we have made progress in this nation.

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